Popular wizard, Bond villain and world-renowned classical actor Sir Christopher Lee is 91 today, and is celebrating by dropping a heavy metal album.
Lee’s voice has been used in music before many times before. The actor, who played the iconic, three-nippled Bond villain Scaramanga in The Man with the Golden Gun, was sampled in Alice Cooper’s rejected theme song for the movie, and in the 1990s he narrated four albums by Italian symphonic power metal band Rhapsody of Fire. In 2010 he recorded his first full length album, Charlemagne: The Sword and the Cross, which explored the legacy of the legendary leader. Lee, who played dark wizard Sarumon in the Lord of the Rings trilogy, says he is related to Charlemagne on his mother’s side, and his family still bares a very similar coat of arms. The album was a symphonic metal tribute to the first Holy Roman emperor and was awarded the “Spirit of Metal” award from the 2010 Metal Hammer Golden Gods ceremony.
Charlemagne: The Omens of Death, is the heavy metal follow-up to The Sword and the Cross. This album, which will is available for download on iTunes today and is being released on CD and Vinyl, continues to explore the legacy of Charlemagne, and the conqueror’s vulnerability. Lyrics like “It was with a sword, I overcame my assailants” are followed with universal sentiments like “with my royal scepter, sometimes I wondered why I could not retire from this world.”
The album also features Black Sabbath founder Tony Iommi on guitar. Iommi and Lee decided to collaborate on this album after Iommi told the actor, who was once the voice of Thor in the German version of the Danish film Valhalla that he was inspired to begin playing metal as a child, after seeing Lee play Dracula in 1958.